Stories

Listen to the voice of culture

Dec 14, 2018

Services: Codes 4 Life

Reflecting on the role of DKA's Codes 4 Life program

Cul­ture keeps us strong. It shares its wis­dom in a whis­per, so we need to lis­ten care­ful­ly. Cul­ture asks us to think about the lega­cy we leave behind for our chil­dren. It reminds us of our respon­si­bil­i­ties to our fam­i­lies, our law, our coun­try, and our com­mu­ni­ty. It strength­ens our iden­ti­ty as we walk in two worlds, try­ing to find our place in each of them. By sit­ting qui­et­ly on coun­try with our Elders, we can hear the voice of cul­ture and gain knowl­edge, under­stand­ing and peace.

Some­times our lives become too noisy, filled with destruc­tive dis­trac­tions like drugs and alco­hol, gam­bling, crime, and domes­tic vio­lence. All this noise drowns out the voice of cul­ture, and we for­get our lega­cy, our respon­si­bil­i­ties and our iden­ti­ty. Cul­ture still whis­pers its wis­dom, yet we can’t hear it over the noise. With the next gen­er­a­tion too dis­tract­ed to lis­ten and learn, Elders fear that their cul­tur­al knowl­edge will die with them. What if we could turn down the vol­ume, and lis­ten to the voice of cul­ture again? 

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Michael Lid­dle with Codes 4 Life par­tic­i­pants in Ampilatwatja

Codes 4 Life is a pro­gram that uses foot­ball as a way to dis­cuss respect for dis­ci­pline. Respect­ing the rules helps us suc­ceed in our lives, not just on the footy oval. Just like we have a role to play on our foot­ball team, we have a role to play in our fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties. Embrac­ing the strength and val­ue in cul­ture helps us to under­stand our place in the world, and the accom­pa­ny­ing oblig­a­tions. Our Elders can guide us, but we need to be ready to listen.

Codes 4 Life offers men a chance to dis­cuss issues, to seek advice and guid­ance, and to express dif­fi­cult emo­tions in a safe, empow­er­ing set­ting. Elders are an impor­tant part of the work­shops; their pres­ence pro­vides authen­tic­i­ty, dig­ni­ty and wis­dom. For many par­tic­i­pants, it is their first oppor­tu­ni­ty to lis­ten to an Elder. With a renewed sense of pur­pose and an under­stand­ing of their lega­cy, respon­si­bil­i­ty and iden­ti­ty, men are empow­ered to walk in two worlds with pride and strength. Codes 4 Life helps men turn down the vol­ume of the neg­a­tive dis­trac­tions in their lives, and lis­ten to the voice of culture.” 

Words by Michael Lid­dle & Anna Skidmore

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